Does The First Sale Exception Apply To Licensed Copies?
The first sale exception does not apply to licensed copies of a copyrighted work. It only applies to copies that are sold. Under the Copyright Act, the first sale exception applies only to the “owner of a particular copy.” To be an owner of a copy, a person must obtain the copy by some means that transfers ownership of the copy, for example, through a sale or as a gift. Where a person obtains the copy through a license, the first sale exception does not apply because a license does not transfer ownership rights in the copy.